NEWPORT BEACH, CA, USA -- In an all-Canadian clash in Newport Beach on Friday, No.6 seed Bianca Andreescu dispatched No.3 seed Eugenie Bouchard, 6-2, 6-0, to reach the semifinals of the WTA 125K Series event in California.
In the first professional encounter between the top two Canadians in the WTA singles rankings, it was 18-year-old Andreescu who clinched a commanding victory over former World No.5 and 2014 Wimbledon finalist Bouchard after only 53 minutes of play.
The players came over from the Australian Open in solid form, both having reached the second round at the year's first Grand Slam event last week. But it was Andreescu who triumphed on Friday to continue her breakthrough season, which included her first WTA singles final at Auckland in the first week of 2018. Andreescu will make her Top 100 debut in the WTA singles rankings on Monday.
The teenager took control of the match early, breaking for a quick 2-1 lead with solid backhands before claiming a second break for 5-2 via a stirring forehand winner on break point. Serving for the opening frame, an unreturnable serve gave Andreescu triple set point, and she converted on her first opportunity after a netted return by Bouchard.
Andreescu rolled through the second set, starting by breaking Bouchard at love in the first game. Two straight aces gave the No.6 seed a hold for 4-0, and she fired another ace two games later to give herself double match point. On the first match point, a long return by Bouchard handed Andreescu the bagel set.
The rising teenager faced only one break point in the match, which she saved, and claimed 70 percent of points when returning Bouchard's second serve during the encounter.
Andreescu will face No.2 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany in the semifinals on Saturday. Maria, who won her first career WTA singles title last year in Mallorca, took out No.12 seed Nicole Gibbs of the United States, 6-1, 6-3, in one hour and seven minutes.
The other semifinal will be an all-American affair. No.7 seed Jessica Pegula notched a quarterfinal upset when she beat No.1 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden, 6-3, 6-3, setting up a final four match with compatriot Lauren Davis.
Davis overcame another American, No.5 seed Taylor Townsend, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6) in the quarterfinals, after a grueling three hours and 11 minutes of play. Townsend had the first match point of the tilt at 6-5 in the deciding tiebreak, but Davis ran off three points in a row to eke out the breaker 8-6.
The event is the penultimate stop in this year's Oracle Challenger Series, which also consisted of WTA 125K Series events in Chicago and Houston last year, and a final event in Indian Wells beginning on Feb. 25.
The top two American women’s and men’s points-getters over the course of the Series receive wildcards into their respective singles main draws at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.